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MSNBC reports on a study saying that “more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, a 10 percent increase since the last Alzheimer’s Association estimate five years ago — and a count that supports the long-forecast dementia epidemic as the population grays.” The new estimates are that “one in eight people 65 and older have the mind-destroying illness, and nearly one in two people over 85.”

These numbers are expected to increase dramatically over the next few decades, with the report saying that “some 7.7 million people are expected to have the disease by 2030, the report says. By 2050, that toll could reach 16 million.”

And the news gets worse, according to the MSNBC story: “Between 200,000 and half a million people under age 65 have either early-onset Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. Researchers have been hard-pressed to estimate of the number of young sufferers,” but the Alzheimer’s Association believes that this number has been significantly underreported.
KC's View:
This is the kind of report that supermarkets need to start thinking about as they formulate plans and strategies for the future. Once again, we have no idea how a supermarket can start catering to these kinds of customers – though it seems clear that marketing to caregivers is certainly one option – but it is information that cannot be ignored.

One irony. It seems like yesterday, but back when we first started covering this industry, one mainstay of industry conventions was Ken Dychtwald of “Age Wave” fame, and much of what he was talking about was the new vitality of America’s aging population, and what the commercial implications were. At the time, the news seemed to be good – Dychtwald would say that when we all got old, we wouldn’t start wearing plaid polyester pants and stop listening to rock ‘n roll – and many of us would breathe a sigh of relief.

But the Alzheimer’s information shines a darker light on our older years.